Episode 4: Mehak Vohra – Up Your LinkedIn and Influencer Marketing Game

March 11, 2019

Mehak Vohra is the CEO of Jamocha Media, a content agency that helps tech and business VCs and CEOs build and leverage their profiles on LinkedIn. The company also has its own LinkedIn influencer label.

Mehak grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and majored in Computer Science at Purdue, but dropped out halfway through the degree when she realized she already found a direction for her career. It’s difficult to argue with that; Mehak was named a Top 5 Gen-Z social media experts you should be following by Forbes and has since grown her brand to include consulting, speaking and blogging, regularly sharing her knowledge on social channels such as Instagram and YouTube.

What’s covered in this episode:

  • How to set goals for LinkedIn and other social media platforms to help you generate sales.
  • Reasons why you might want to work with influencers.
  • Mistakes that big companies have made when working with influencers and how you can avoid them.
  • Why influencers on YouTube and other social media platforms don’t work the same as they do on LinkedIn.
  • The future of influencers on LinkedIn and who to look out for as excellent case study examples.

Podcast Transcription:

(This transcription has been redacted for readability.)

Alexander: Hi, everyone. Thank you for tuning in to the Fullstack Marketing Ninja Podcast. Today we’ve got a special guest, Mehak Vohra, who’s originally from West Virginia. She runs a company called Jamocha Media, where she helps businesses basically get their LinkedIn in order and they help maximize a profile or company’s exposure through content and creating connections on LinkedIn. That might not have been the best intro. Mehak maybe you could give us a little bit of this in terms of what your company does and what you try to help your clients achieve.

Mehak: Yeah, for sure. I grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia. I had always really been into computers, I studied two years of computer science at Purdue, and then I dropped out. Now I run a digital marketing company and our main goal is to help people grow and generate sales through LinkedIn. So all of our clientele is based on LinkedIn. We help them create content around their target audience and then help them identify who that target audience is great content around it and then help them generate leads through that. So we have a check dashboard where clients can log in and they can see their content and what’s coming up next? We have a network of writers that we are training and we’re placing them within the companies, so we’re kind of like your all in one tech/talent, one-stop shop for generating leads.

A: Awesome. I think one of the reasons why I wanted to have a chat with you is because not too many people know how to leverage LinkedIn for businesses but a lot of people know that it’s the most professional of the social media networks and I thought we could get some insights from you for that, but also, we had a great conversation about influencers previously. So I wanted to get your thoughts, as it seems you’ve been in the industry for a while now and I think a lot of businesses used to think that influencer marketing was a niche thing, but now it’s definitely a very solid part of how people engage potential users and large customers. So I want to know in your opinion, should all brands be working with influencers, and if not, what type of companies or industries have you worked with where there’s a very logical fit? Whether you’re thinking about campaigns, or content or marketing.

M: I think it really depends. If you as a company want to work with influencers and you want to create content with influencers, I think the really important thing to figure out is what exactly are you trying to accomplish by working with them? So, like, if it’s to generate sales because you’re doing like and B2C company, then it’s really identifying who which influencers are really big within your niche and having them sell. I think if that’s if you’re more of a B2B company and it’s to help build the brands then it’s identifying who are the top players in that field and having them create content to speak to other brands. So at the end of the day it really all depends on really what you’re trying to accomplish, and then who are the top players within that field.  

A: Got it. I think one of the really tough things is – let’s just use YouTube as an example – because I think many businesses are looking to tap into YouTube influencers and in many cases, some of these influencers are getting more views then a traditional movie star and that influence is global in nature. How do companies – what’s the best way for them to – say you’re starting off from ground zero. How do you vet, approach and work with these YouTube stars? What’s a good way, for some companies to start exploring this area of marketing? Maybe we can talk about some frameworks that you use yourself. Can you maybe walk us through how you would start thinking about running your first influencer campaign as a company?

M: I would say the best place to really start is tapping into your network and trying to figure out like, who do you know that is an influencer or maybe is connected to an influencer and talking with them and figuring out, what are your exact goals with creating content with these influencers. So once you figure that out and what exactly your brand strategy is, then you need to reach out to them and then figure out what their budget is and what it would take for them to hit that goal for you. So, a lot of the way influencers usually do things is through cost per impressions. So, CPM’s and that’s what they charge for. So if they’re creating content for you and that content gets, a million views that’s you would be paying them – usually we see influencers getting paid around a thousand dollars for that. So the big thing is trying to figure out like what your goal is, how many views? How many people do you want to get it in front of? And then figuring out your highest cost per impression that you’re willing to pay, and then reaching out to influencers and telling them like, “okay, this is what I can do, would this be of interest to you?” But really just understanding what your target audience is. Who those people are, and then figuring out your CPM.

A: Right. So a lot of research before the fact. And then when you go in, you shave a very good understanding of, you know, even what this influencer’s audience is, what that potential reach is, and then you can have a more educated conversation on how to engage with them. It’s interesting that you mentioned that most influencers charge per impression. Do you think there are any other ways to get them closer to a cost-per-conversion model? How would you think about that and then when you’re working with influencers, how does the discussion of a return on investment or KPIs come up with an influencer, or is it usually more of an organic model?

M: Definitely. Some influencers do do it by conversion. I think it really just depends on really at the end of day what are your goals and what are you trying to do? So, impressions make sense for if you’re trying to build brand equity, conversion if if you’re trying to do more for sales. And really, at the end of the day, even brand equity equals sales and that’s what you want. I think it’s really just trying to figure out, like how soon do you want to see results? And in what way do you want to build out your brand. It really just depends on the scenario and exactly what you’re trying to to get across.

A: One thing that I’ve always found difficult is kind of when you start the discussion about content and obviously influencers want to… they have their own kind of audience built off the incredible content that they built themselves, but then a company usually has its own objectives. So, you know, you might want to work with somebody that has your target audience, but also, you as a company need to stay on brand. How do you define that content strategy? I’m sure influencers want to create content that’s also helping drive leads to them, so they look at it as a sort of synergistic collaboration. Do you have any tips on how companies can go about balancing what they need to achieve in terms of their objectives and then also being able, to authentically connect with the audiences of the influencers they’re trying to engage with?

M: How do you find that middle ground? I think the really big thing in that situation is, the reason why you’re going for an influencer compared to really focusing on building out your own advertisement is because you want that authenticity and you want that person’s brand and their audience. I think, actually, this is the biggest problem that I’ve seen on the influencer side, where they’re always like, “I really want to work with this brand, but they’re they’re too overbearing or they won’t let me do what I want to do and it makes me not want to work with them.” So, I think if you want to work with an influencer and you want that influencer’s audience, you have to also be able to place trust in that influencer to bring that audience to you, because if they’ve been able to develop that audience for themselves, they can most likely get them to come over to you as well. But if your overbearing or you wanted to be directly within your messaging, it makes sense to come together on messaging, or maybe what exactly the end goal with working with them, but you have to give them the opportunity to do it their own way.

A: Right. So we see that some of these influencers have that big reach, but maybe they’re not as experienced with working with like large companies. I’m thinking of some examples are like Tyler the Creator and Mountain Dew were working together is that one? And then more recently, the Kendall Jenner and Pepsi ad? It seems like a lot of these soft drink companies have issues with working with influencers for some reason. Is there anything that you think they could have done better to set up the content in a way where they’re not stifling an artist’s creativity where you’re able to use the creative to build the kind of exposure they actually want? Is there anything that you have provided in the contract to make to make things run a little bit more smoothly?

M: I think, honestly, just it all comes down to perspective. I think the Pepsi thing could have been avoided if maybe they had – I don’t actually know what their team looks like, but from what I understand and from what I’ve seen from it, I think it probably could have been avoided if they maybe had a more diverse team? Or maybe people from the outside that could come in and gave a better perspective, because clearly there was something lacking on their team and that they were missing that perspective of why that ad wasn’t going to do well, why that ad with Kendall Jenner wasn’t going to work out. Like what about it upset people? I think that’s the biggest thing is when companies are out of touch and they’re lacking that perspective. So, whether it was diversity or whether it was maybe like an age difference or whatever, companies really need to look at what they’re missing inside of them that makes them lack perspective to actually feel authentic and work with their audience.

A: Okay, that’s a very interesting insight. Definitely food for thought. Are there any campaigns that you liked that could serve as case studies for good work, in your opinion? Anything with influencers that you’ve seen or done in the past that you thought were super effective and good case studies for companies to take a look at?

M: Yeah, let me think about this. Liza Koshy with Beats was an incredible ad. I think she did a really good job there and like she was someone who was relevant, she was young, she was already interviewing a lot of these celebrities at red carpet awards and things like that. Liza Koshy was pretty good. One ad that I always go back to – and it doesn’t actually doesn’t even involve an influencer, but I thought it was a really good way of speaking to their target audience was there’s this company, was God, I wish I could remember the name (editor’s note: we later spoke and Mehak was referring to Chatbooks – here’s the video). It was like flip book or something, and it was like a scrapbook company where the whole premise of their offering was, they would take pictures that you have taken on your iPhone, and every month they would send you a scrapbook of pictures of your month. So it was like basically getting a subscription to your life. And the ad that they put together for this video was, I mean for this app, was just incredible. The whole premise of the ad was, it was this mom and she has really crazy kids, and she just doesn’t have time to look back on her memories or whatever, because they’re going to soccer practice and they’re doing sports or whatever. She doesn’t get time to take a break. But this company gives her the opportunity to look back on all those crazy memories without her having to do the work. And that was just one of those ads like, I remember, showing It’s my mom, and I think my mom just related with that so well. And they did a really good job of identifying what the problems are within that target audience, which would be mothers, making an ad off of that and then also making it funny and relatable so people would be more willing to use out their product.

A: That’s Awesome. I think we’re talking primarily about using YouTube as a kind of a platform, but I know that you do a lot of work on Linkedin now. It seems like, I don’t know if it’s just me, but I see a lot of almost like, business professionals trying to become influencers on LinkedIn. What are your thoughts on that? And where do you see that going? What’s the future direction for LinkedIn and does it have a place for other influencers? And I’m not just talking about the Richard Bransons or the Elon Musks of the world.

M: Like, the Jake Coles of the world? Haha.

A: Yeah, exactly!

M: Yeah, here’s the thing. I think YouTube at the end of the day is always going to be king, just because on YouTube, you’re not a part of the feed. When you’re clicking on a video, your attention is completely on that video. If you’re on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, if you’re creating content there, you’re part of the feed. So there needs to be more touch points with your audience before they recognize you and who you are. The “view” doesn’t mean as much on LinkedIn as it does on YouTube. But, with that being said, I think we’re going to see creators within the next two to three years popping up on LinkedIn that pop up in the same way as on Facebook and do I think they’re going to stay on LinkedIn? No. I think they’re gonna use that to bounce off and then move over to YouTube, unless they’re just looking to stay within the business space, I think, for like the people that are younger and that are trying to become the next Jake Paul. I could see maybe a couple of people popping up on LinkedIn as creators there and then moving that audience over once it’s big enough. I think it really just all comes down to figuring out what that algorithm is and like, how you can game it. And then from there, creating content around that and then using LinkedIn as a springboard, which I think it’s the same thing with Facebook. And it’s the same thing with Instagram is like it’s all being used as springboards to create a more lasting brand.

There are a lot of people now that are starting to move their content over to LinkedIn because it’s just into their channel for distribution. I don’t know about the longevity of it. I think it’s really soon to say, but I think LinkedIn needs pioneers to actually, like, set it up and to become the platform that it wants to be.

A: Right. It’s sort of this space that hasn’t really been explored by LinkedIn.

M: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, like in the same way Nas Daily was like a huge pioneer for Facebook and like “Facebook Only” video content, I think there’s going to be people popping up on LinkedIn that are doing the same thing. So, like really good examples of this, are Goldie Chan, she’s like, really well known for having great hair and she’s a digital marketer, so she posts a new vlog every single day. So, she’s been one of the breakout stars on LinkedIn. Natalie Riso has also been one of the breakout stars. She has over three-hundred thousand followers. She creates content around Gen-Z and college students and mental health, and she’s like this incredible speaker and she’s like only twenty-two? Twenty-three? She’s pretty young.

Another person to check out is Manu Swish Goswami. His content is also incredible. He’s the CEO of a company that was also doing influencer marketing stuff and he’s also in his early twenties. He used his LinkedIn career to help push that business off. I would credit a lot of his success to him finding his audience on LinkedIn. So, he’s also another person to definitely check out and to see how to utilize LinkedIn to not only build a personal brand, but to also help you build a company.

So, we see a lot of people that are using LinkedIn, as a springboard to help them start their careers off. And I think we’re going to see a lot more people like that coming up.

A: Building your brand on LinkedIn or even just creating great content on LinkedIn is something that you’ve become known as an expert at. Are there three tips that you can give our listeners, maybe top three tips that they kind of employ and use right away to make their LinkedIn profiles and network or contacts better?

M: Yeah, absolutely. So I think the first thing is just start creating content because you’re not going to know what works and what doesn’t work. So if you want to start creating content on LinkedIn, I think now is the time to do it, because it’s such an early platform that I think in six to twelve months it’s going to be way harder than it is now to build out that brand. I think the second thing would be starting to think through, “who do you want to watch your videos and start to target them?” Start looking for those people on LinkedIn and becoming friends with them. And, the third thing would be, I think is just engaging, like really figuring out like, okay, cool, so not only just putting out content, but finding other creators that are within your niche on LinkedIn and creating content with them or commenting on their videos and like becoming their friends, I think because linked and is such – even people who have three hundred thousand followers, like Natalie [Riso] is very accessible. It’s an upcoming platform that needs pioneers and needs more people to come in, and I think at the end of the day, you just have to start.

A: Great tips. Thanks for your time Mehak. This has been a great conversation and it’s really great that we were able to get you on the show. Are there any other things that you want to talk about? What’s new in your life? What’s something that people can look forward to coming from you? How can people connect with you and get more information about your ongoing work?

M: Yeah, so Jamocha right now, we’re moving over into premium content next month. Right now we’re just looking for more companies that are interested in closing that audience and sales gap with their marketing. If any companies are interested in creating content or they have a blog, but it’s not quite helping them meet their sales goals, we would love to talk with them about that.

We’re also looking for CEOs and sales people that are looking to grow their brand on LinkedIn. We have a whole systemized process for that. If you would like to talk with me or if you have a question, feel free to shoot me an email at mehak@jamochamedia.com. you also find me at Twitter @themehakvohra.

A: That’s great. Thank you for your time and thanks for sharing your wisdom with the audience here Mehak.
M: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Podcast music by Ikson Music.

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